This past week was incredible. We hosted an athlete, his unified partner in Floor Hockey, and the team doctor from Kazakhstan. Dimitri, Rustam and Yevgeni were charming, wonderful guests. They loved our American streets. "Just like in the movies", Yevgeni said. When I asked him if they were very much different from Kazakhstan, he started to laugh. Apparently they are.
Our guests were amazed at American grocery stores, especially Costco. They couldn't believe the availability of items and the fact that they cost less here. They took pictures of everything: Mustang cars (everyone had pose around one they saw in the high school parking lot), buildings, birds, school buses.
The loved the high school, with its available computers, library, culinary school, exercise equipment, weight room, and cafeteria. The boys stopped to stare at every single American girl. They loved American food. They thought the hoedown was a riot. Rustam tried every line dance taught. They rode the "mechanical" bull. They stuffed themselves with hamburgers, potato salad, and Idaho ice cream potatoes. (remind me to tell you about that Idaho tradition sometime).
I am so grateful for these three opening my eyes to blessings I might have taken for granted. Our homes are huge compared to theirs. We elect the President of the United States every four years while they have a president who has been in power much longer than any president should in a democracy. Our schools make so much available to our children. Our buildings each have their own individuality and beauty.
Yevgeni invited us to stay with him if we ever make it to Kazakhstan. We told him we would be honored. I would love to meet his sweet wife and adorable baby. In the meantime, we are making plans to attend some Special Olympic events. Particularly floor hockey.
I need to learn Russian for "GO TEAM!"